Over the past three years my mother-in-law has had a variety of caregivers. Some for a week at a time, some for a few months and others have been with for her for a year or more. During this time we have had to intervene and negotiate a variety of issues between her and the caregivers. Usually it is as simple as a communication problem or a difference in expectations. I remember that my mother-in-law’s first issue was with a very competent caregiver that appeared, and was very young. One of her duties was to assist my mother-in-law with her shower. My mother-in-law, because of her age, felt very self-conscious about this and she requested we find someone older.
Our solution was to have her caregivers switch times and days so that an older woman was available for her showers and the younger woman prepared her meals and helped with the household chores. My mother-in-law actually developed a good relationship with the younger woman stating that she gave the best back and shoulder massages. She still works with my mother-in-law to this day.
Like any relationship there is a certain ebb and flow that takes place between the home care aide and the client as a result of their individual personalities and their daily life experience. So it is important as the overseer in this relationship to keep everything in perspective when mediating these issues. On some days my mother-in-law really likes her caregiver and on others she is not as satisfied. Usually by reassuring my mother-in-law that we are her advocate, listening carefully to her issues and discussing them objectively, we are able to resolve most of them.
My mother-in-law would be quite content, on most days, to just have a companion but she needs the other services that the caregivers provide. She sometimes feels she is not getting enough attention when they are doing their work tidying up or preparing meals. On these days she looks on the caregiver in a less than positive manner. We need to remind her of the caregivers responsibilities and that when they do their work they are not ignoring her but helping make her life easier. The relationship between caregiver and client is a dynamic one, and it constantly needs to be adapted and modified. A good home care agency will be able to help assist you in managing this relationship.
By Hello! Home Care contributing writer Bill Mishico